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ATC, Medlink charged with Medicare fraud

Oct. 21, 2010 at 4:38 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Two Miami healthcare companies and four individuals -- owners and senior managers -- were indicted Thursday for an alleged $200 million Medicare fraud.

The U.S. Justice Department and the Department of Health and Human services said in a statement that in addition to the indictment, a temporary restraining order was obtained to freeze the companies' and individuals' assets.

The 13-count indictment unsealed in Miami charges American Therapeutic Corp. and Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., as well as Lawrence S. Duran, Marianella Valera, Judith Negron and Margarita Acevedo (aka Margarita De La Cruz) with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud.

ATC, Duran and Valera were also charged with 11 counts of healthcare fraud, U.S. officials said. ATC, Duran, Valera and Acevedo were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to receive healthcare kickbacks and to pay healthcare kickbacks.

Officials said the four individuals were arrested Thursday morning in Miami and are set to make initial appearances in U.S. District Court. Meanwhile, federal agents were conducting search warrants Thursday at six ATC and Medlink locations.

Criminal and civil court documents allege the defendants participated in a scheme to defraud the Medicare program by submitting false claims for mental health services administered at ATC facilities that were medically unnecessary or were not provided.

Court documents also allege that Duran, Valera, Acevedo and ATC paid kickbacks to owners and operators of assisted living facilities and halfway houses in exchange for delivering patients from their facilities to ATC; and that patient charts and notes from therapy sessions were routinely altered.

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